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School Aged Children

Kindergarten teachers expect children to demonstrate certain skills when entering their classroom. Teachers understand that all children develop at different rates and have different experiences before coming to school. Therefore, they do not expect that children will demonstrate all skills perfectly. The list below is not mandatory for children. It was made to give parents an idea of what children need to know to experience success in school when entering kindergarten.

Early Skills:

Math and Oral Language

1. Recognizes basic shapes and colors

2. Recognizes number 1-10

3. Can recite many nursery rhymes without help

4. Recognizes rhyming words orally.

5. Recognizes rhyming sounds orally.

6. Can sit and listen to a story with appropriate interactions

7. Uses pictures to sequence familiar stories, indicating beginning, middle and end

8. Retell familiar stories using a beginning, middle and end

9. Can sort and classify by picture

10. Begins to ask and answer simple questions

11. Talks in complete sentences of 5 to 6 words

12. Communicates in clearly understood speech

13. Follows simple one and two step directions

14. Speaks clearly when necessary.

Reading

1. Recognizes letters of the alphabet

2. Demonstrates comprehension of stories by responding orally.

3. Understands how print is organized and read (left to right, top to bottom, match voice with print)

Writing

1. Can write first name with age appropriate print.

2. knows that writing involved making marks that convey meaning on paper

3. knows writing goes left to right, top to bottom, on page.

Basic Life Skills

1. Can sit still and pay attention for 15 minutes

2. Shares and takes turns

3. Has respect for authority

4. Is responsible for their actions and realizes actions have consequences

5. Enjoys being and talking with others

6. Works in groups

7. Persistent—able to finish a task

8. Knows right from wrong

9. Has respect for other people and their property

10. Takes care of their own property.

If you feel your child is delayed in reaching these milestones, the Fredericksburg area has free developmental screenings and programs that can intervene. Don’t wait to see if you child outgrows a delay. Contact Child Find for testing. Child Find contacts: Caroline County: 804-633-5088, Fredericksburg City: 540-372-1127; King George County: 540-775-5833 x40; Spotsylvania County: 540-786-8506; Stafford County: 540-658-6517.

Educational Options for Your Child

Preschool Curriculums

See our preschool directory.

Preschool is appropriate for children between three and five years of age. Studies have shown that the years of learning from zero to six are extremely important. A child’s brain at this age is making connections that will last the rest of their life.

Some common preschool curriculums are:

Religious-based: Fredericksburg has numerous high-quality preschools based in churches. These are usually 2, 3 or 4-day programs from 9 to 12 with no aftercare offered. They include simple religious themes along with academic skills and social interaction. This is a good option for stay at home parents who don’t need a full day of care.

Montessori-based: The Fredericksburg area also has many Montessori options to choose from. The Montessori program was founded by pediatrician/psychiatrist Maria Montessori in 1907. Teachers emphasize the importance and connection of all living things, and the need for each person to find meaningful work and his or her own place in the world. Children learn about other cultures, animals, and plants in addition to reading, language, and mathematical skills. The curriculum is best for kids who want a hands-on learning environment suited to their own needs. Special needs children thrive, especially those with ADD or other learning problems because of the individual attention teachers pay to each student. Montessori schools believe in teaching children about a wide range of cultures, and most actively seek a diverse student body. There are at least 4 schools and one daycare in the area that offer a Montessori-based curriculum.

Parent Cooperative: These types of programs are run by the parents themselves and require a serious time commitment. Parents volunteer extensively in the classroom, and consequently pay less in tuition. The Fredericksburg Cooperative Preschool, based at the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church has won several awards, including an award from the Northern Virginia Magazine, NOVA. This is a good choice if you want to be heavily involved in your child’s preschool experience.

Head Start: Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. Eligibility for Head Start services is largely income-based. The Fredericksburg area has excellent Head Start programs.

Waldorf (Rudolf Steiner), Reggio Emilia, Bank Street, and High/Scope programs: These are all educational programs that offer alternative learning systems. We are not aware of any in our area. Let us know if you know of any of these types of programs available in the Fredericksburg area. You can reach us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Commercial Daycare Programs: There are many high-quality commercial daycare centers in the Fredericksburg area for the children of parents who work. The most respected accreditation program for commercial daycares is run by the NAEYC (The National Academy for the Education of Young Children) Only the top 5% of daycares in the nation attain NAEYC accreditation. There are currently three daycares in the area with NAEYC accreditation, although other centers have held the designation in the past. See our daycare directory.

They are:

KinderCare Learning Centers
29 Greenspring Drive
Stafford, VA 22554
County: Stafford
Phone: 540 659-2827
Program ID Number: 413686
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.knowledgelearning.com

NDW NSASP Dahlgren Child Development Center
6044 Jenkins Road Building 212
Dahlgren, VA 22448
County: King George
Phone: 540 653-4994
Program ID Number: 289419
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: https://qol.persnet.navy.

Quantico Child Development Center
3311 Purvis Road
Quantico, VA 22134
County: Prince William
Phone: 703 784-2716
Program ID Number: 275386
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://quantico.usmc-mccs.org

Improving the Quality of Daycare in the Fredericksburg Area

Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area is one of 13 communities across the state participating in year two of a demonstration project for Virginia’s Star Quality Initiative. Virginia’s Star Quality Initiative is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for early childhood classrooms which sets a continuum of clearly defined Star levels of increasing quality. The Star Quality program awards either Rising Star status or one, two, three, four, or five stars to programs, similar to how restaurants and hotels are rated, based on achievement in each of the four standards.

Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area is coordinating the rating of four Fredericksburg-area early-childhood education programs this fall. Participating classrooms include four different types of early-childhood programs (private, public, non-profit, and faith-based). The names of the four participating daycares have not yet been released.

If you would like to find out more about Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area and the Quality Rating and Improvement System, please contact Angie Sullivan at 540-373-0041 x23 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Home childcare Programs and The Childcare Network

Some parents prefer care provided in a home setting. These home daycares can be either licensed on unlicensed. The Fredericksburg area is lucky to have a Childcare Network program. This nonprofit entity encourages home daycare providers to become licensed and offers many training services to area daycare providers and parents. Parents can search their online database for home daycare options. Their referral service area includes: Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fredericksburg, King George, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. service. They also offer a checklist on choosing high quality child care, and a booklet on the same topic. These referrals are free to the public and include a criteria-based computer search, parent counseling, and information on child care regulations.

For a link to the Virginia Department of Social Services website for copies of specific childcare centers’ inspection reports click here.

Private and Parochial Schools

See our private school directory.

As you contemplate where to send your school-age child, you probably weigh factors such as availability of transportation, student-teacher ratios, extended curriculum options, after care, district policies and standardized testing results. While these weigh heavily in your decision making process, these elements might not be as high on your child’s list of reasons to attend a school.

Talking with your child might reveal some strong reasons for choosing a public, private, alternative or parochial school. Discuss your child’s expectations to help you come to a mutually rewarding conclusion. Perhaps your daughter is very compassionate and wants to participate in the monthly service projects that parochial schools offer. Maybe your son fears wearing a uniform or not making friends in the neighborhood if he doesn’t attend your local public school?

List yours and your child’s priorities, fears and concerns to determine what each of you expect from a school, teacher and classroom. Before you and your child make a final decision, ask to take a tour of each potential school’s classrooms, and building. Grant your child the freedom to ask the principal or teachers questions and to see where he’ll be learning also before you make the decision to enroll him to ensure that everyone will be comfortable with the decision.

Compiled by Leigh Anne Van Doren, with assistance from Gina Roberts Grey, Angie Sullivan, the Rappahannock Area United Way, and Regina Maloney.

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